Gamification in the foreign language classroom: too cool for school?

2017 edition

Ljubica Damevska

The use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts* is the definition for which concept?

You guessed right! It’s gamification.

With the current technological advances in video games, smartphones, and gadgets, and the invention of all sorts of apps it seems like games take significant place in our daily lives. For example, with the Endomondo Tracker app we run for points and track our running progress, the Sleep Genius app allows us to gamify our sleep and dreams, with Citymapper we gamify our daily commute, with Duolingo we gamify our language learning.  With all these apps we can gamify almost any aspect of our lives, even the learning process.

As language teachers we have been using a wide variety of games already to make both teaching and learning a foreign language less cumbersome and more fun. Applying gamification in foreign language teaching is especially attractive because of its potential to transform teaching and learning a new language by constantly keeping the ‘fun’ variable.  Is gamification what our classes need and when is the right time to gamify?

Based on these reflections my research focuses on the following objectives: foreign language teachers’ perceptions of gamification, foreign language teachers’ role in the foreign language classroom, and the potential influence of the instruction of gamification on the teachers’ perception of gamification and teachers’ role in the classroom.


* Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From Game Design   Elements to Gamefulness: Defining Gamification. MindTrek, Sept 28-30, 8.